|Leader||Tim Farron MP|
|Lords Leader||Lord Wallace|
|Founded||3 March 1988|
|Merger of||Liberal Party
Social Democratic Party
|Headquarters||8–10 Great George Street,
London, SW1P 3AE
|Youth wing||Liberal Youth|
|Membership (3 June 2015)||61,456|
|International affiliation||Liberal International|
|European affiliation||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe|
|European Parliament group||Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe|
|House of Commons||
8 / 650
|House of Lords||
112 / 822
2 / 25
1 / 73
1,809 / 20,252
5 / 129
|National Assembly for Wales||
5 / 60
|Politics of the United Kingdom
The Liberal Democrats were formed in 1988 by a merger of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party (SDP). The two parties had formed the electoral SDP–Liberal Alliance for seven years prior. The Liberal Party had been in existence for 129 years and in power under leaders such as Gladstone, Asquith and Lloyd George. Liberal Reforms led to the creation of the British welfare state. In the 1920s, the Labour Party replaced the Liberals as the largest opponent of the Conservative Party. The SDP split from Labour in 1981 because of the latter's move to the left.
Nick Clegg was elected leader in 2007. At the 2010 general election, the Liberal Democrats won 57 seats, making them the third-largest party in the House of Commons behind the Conservatives with 307 and Labour with 258. No party having an overall majority, the Liberal Democrats joined a coalition government with the Conservative Party, with Clegg becoming Deputy Prime Minister and other Liberal Democrats taking up ministerial positions. At the 2015 general election, the party was reduced to eight Members of Parliament and Clegg resigned as leader. Tim Farron won the subsequent leadership election.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Founding
- 1.2 Post-1988 history
- 1.3 In coalition government (2010–15)
- 1.4 2015 UK general election
- 2 Ideology
- 3 Policies
- 4 Electoral results
- 5 Structure
- 6 Leadership
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The Liberal Democrats were formed on 3 March 1988 by a merger between the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party, which had formed a pact nearly seven years earlier as the SDP–Liberal Alliance. The Liberal Party, founded in 1859, were descended from the Whigs, Radicals and Peelites, while the SDP were a party created in 1982 by former Labour members, MPs and cabinet ministers, but also gained defections from Conservatives.
Having declined to third party status after the rise of the Labour Party from 1918 and especially during the 1920s, the Liberals were challenged for this position in the 1980s when a group of Labour MPs broke away and established the Social Democratic Party (SDP). The SDP and the Liberals realised that there was no space for four political parties and entered into the SDP–Liberal Alliance so that they would not stand against each other in elections. The Alliance was led by David Steel (Liberal) and Roy Jenkins (SDP); Jenkins was replaced by David Owen. The two parties had their own policies and emphases, but produced a joint manifesto for the 1983 and 1987 general elections.
Following disappointing results in the 1987 election, Steel proposed to merge the two parties. Although opposed by Owen, it was supported by a majority of members of both parties, and they formally merged in March 1988, with Steel and Robert Maclennan (who had become SDP leader in August 1987) as joint interim leaders. The new party was initially named Social and Liberal Democrats (SLD) with the unofficial short form The Democrats being used from September 1988. The name was subsequently changed to Liberal Democrats in October 1989, which is frequently shortened to Lib Dems. The new party logo, the Bird of Liberty, was adopted in 1989.
The minority of the SDP who rejected the merger remained under Owen's leadership in a rump SDP; the minority of the Liberal Party divided, with some retiring from politics immediately and others (led by former Liberal MP Michael Meadowcroft) creating a new 'Liberal Party' that claimed to be the continuation of the Liberal Party which had just dissolved itself. Michael Meadowcroft eventually joined the Liberal Democrats in 2007 but some of his former followers continue still as the Liberal Party, most notably in a couple of electoral wards of the City of Liverpool.
The then-serving Liberal MP Paddy Ashdown was elected leader in July 1988. At the 1989 European Elections, the party received only 6% of the vote, putting them in fourth place after the Green Party. They failed to gain a single Member of the European Parliament at this election.
Over the next three years, the party recovered under Ashdown's leadership. They performed better at the 1990 local elections and in by-elections—including at Eastbourne in 1990, Ribble Valley in 1991 and Kincardine & Deeside in 1991.
The Lib Dems did not reach the share of national votes in the 1990s that the Alliance had achieved in the 1980s. At their first election in 1992 (which ended in a fourth successive Conservative win), they won 17.8% of the vote and twenty seats. They more than doubled their representation at the 1997 general election, when they gained 46 seats—through tactical voting and concentrating resources in winnable seats.
Following the election of Tony Blair as Labour leader in July 1994 after the death of his predecessor John Smith, Ashdown pursued co-operation between the two parties because he wanted to form a coalition government should the next general election end without any party having an overall majority. This Lib-Lab pact failed to form because Labour's massive majority after the 1997 general election made it an irrelevance for Labour, and because Labour were not prepared to consider the introduction of proportional representation and other Lib Dem conditions. The election was, however, something of a turning point for the Liberal Democrats. They took a smaller share of the vote than at the previous election, but they managed to more than double their representation in parliament.
Ashdown retired as leader in 1999 and the party elected Charles Kennedy as his replacement. The party improved on their 1997 results at the 2001 general election, increasing their number of seats to 52 and their share of the vote to 18.3%. Liberal Democrat candidates won support from former Labour and Conservative voters due to the Lib Dems' position on issues that appealed to those on the left and the right: opposition to the war in Iraq and support for civil liberties, electoral reform, and open government. Charles Kennedy expressed his goal to replace the Conservatives as the official opposition; The Spectator awarded him the 'Parliamentarian of the Year' award in November 2004 for his position on the war. The party won seats from Labour in by-elections in Brent East in 2003 and Leicester South in 2004, and narrowly missed taking others in Birmingham Hodge Hill and Hartlepool.
At the 2005 general election, the Lib Dems gained their highest share of the vote since the SDP–Liberal Alliance (22%) and won 62 seats. Many had anticipated that this election would be the Lib Dem's breakthrough at Westminster; party activists hoped to better the 25% support of the 1983 election, or to reach 100 MPs. Much of the apparent lack of success resulted from the first-past-the-post electoral system: the party got 22% of the votes nationally but only 10% of the seats in the Commons. Controversy became associated with the campaign when it became known that Michael Brown had donated £2.4 million to the Liberal Democrats. Brown, who lived in Majorca, Spain at the time, was charged in June 2008 with fraud and money laundering and subsequently jumped bail and fled the country. In November 2008 he was convicted in his absence of thefts amounting to £36 million and sentenced to seven years imprisonment.
The 2005 election figures revealed a trend of the Lib Dems replacing the Conservatives as Labour's main opponents in urban areas. Many gains came in previously Labour-held urban constituencies (e.g., Manchester Withington, Cardiff Central, Birmingham Yardley), many of which the Conservatives had held in the 1980s, and Lib Dem aspirants had over 100 second-place finishes behind Labour candidates. The British electoral system makes it hard for the Conservatives to form a government without winning some city seats outside of its rural heartlands, such as the Lib Dem Bristol West constituency, where the Conservatives came third in 2005 after holding the seat until 1997.
In a statement on 5 January 2006, Charles Kennedy admitted to a long battle with alcoholism and announced a leadership election in which he intended to stand for re-election, while Sir Menzies Campbell took over as acting leader.
For several years rumours had alleged that Kennedy had problems with alcohol—the BBC's Nick Robinson called it "Westminster's worst-kept secret". Kennedy had on previous occasions denied these rumours, and some suggested that he had deliberately misled the public and his party.
Kennedy had planned to stand as a candidate, but he withdrew from the election citing a lack of support among Lib Dem MPs. Sir Menzies Campbell subsequently won the contest, defeating Chris Huhne and Simon Hughes, among others, in a very controversial race. Mark Oaten withdrew from the contest because of revelations about visits to male prostitutes. Simon Hughes came under attack regarding his sexuality while Chris Huhne was accused live on The Daily Politics of attempting to rig polls.
Despite the negative press over Kennedy's departure, the leaderless party won the Dunfermline and West Fife by-election over Labour in February 2006. This result was viewed as a particular blow for Gordon Brown, who lives in the constituency, represents the adjacent seat and featured in Labour's campaign. The party also came second place by 633 votes in the Bromley and Chislehurst by-election, threatening the safe Conservative seat and pushing Labour into fourth place behind the UK Independence Party. In July 2007, Sir Menzies announced that the party wished to cut the basic rate of income tax from 20 to 16p per pound—the lowest rate since 1916—and wanted to finance the cut using green taxes and other revenues, including making gains from UK properties owned by non-UK residents eligible for capital gains tax.
Opinion poll trends during Campbell's leadership showed support for the Lib Dems decline to less than 20%. Campbell resigned on 15 October 2007, and Vince Cable became acting leader until a leadership election could be held. Cable was praised during his tenure for his performances at Prime minister's questions over the Northern Rock crisis, HMRC's loss of child benefit data, and the 2007 Labour party donation scandal.
On 18 December 2007, Nick Clegg won the leadership election, becoming the party's fourth leader. Clegg won the leadership with a majority of 511 votes (1.2%) over his opponent Chris Huhne, in a poll of party members. Clegg is the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam, and was an MEP for the East Midlands from 1999 to 2004.
In his acceptance speech, Clegg declared that he was "a liberal by temperament, by instinct and by upbringing" and that he believes "Britain [is] a place of tolerance and pluralism". He claimed that his priorities were defending civil liberties; devolving the running of public services to parents, pupils and patients; and protecting the environment, and that he wanted to forge a "liberal alternative to the discredited policies of big government". He also proposed a target to double the number of Lib Dem MPs within two elections, and before the 2008 local elections confirmed that he was pleased with their performance in the polls.
Shortly after election, Clegg reshuffled the party's frontbench team, making Chris Huhne the replacement Home Affairs spokesperson, Ed Davey the Foreign Affairs spokesperson, and keeping Vince Cable as Shadow Chancellor. His predecessors were also given roles: Campbell joined the all-party Commons foreign affairs select committee, and Kennedy campaigned nationwide on European issues, as president of the European Movement UK.
Clegg became deputy prime minister to David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, in a 2010 coalition agreement that placed a centre-right government at the helm of the United Kingdom. Political commentators identified Clegg's leadership as promoting a shift to the radical centre in the Liberal Democrats, bringing more emphasis to the economically liberal side of social liberalism.
Despite- or perhaps because of- Clegg's efforts at triangulation, the Liberal Democrats experienced its worst-ever showing in the 7 May 2015 election, losing 48 seats in the House of Commons and gaining none. Prominent Liberal Democrat MPs who lost their seats included former leader Charles Kennedy, former deputy leaders Vince Cable and Simon Hughes, and several cabinet ministers. The party held onto just eight constituencies in Great Britain, with only one in Scotland, one in Wales and six in England. The Liberal Democrats' erstwhile coalition partner, Cameron's Conservatives, won an outright majority, negating the need for them to accommodate the smaller party in government. On 8 May 2015, Clegg announced his resignation as party leader.
In coalition government (2010–15)
After the first of three general election debates on 15 April 2010, a ComRes poll put the Liberal Democrats on 24%. On 20 April, a YouGov poll put the Liberal Democrats on 34%, the Conservatives on 33% and Labour on 28%.
In the general election held on 6 May 2010, the Liberal Democrats won 23% of the vote and 57 seats in the House of Commons. The election returned a hung parliament with no party having an absolute majority. Negotiations between the Lib Dems and the two main parties occurred in the following days. David Cameron became Prime Minister on 11 May after Gordon Brown's resignation and the Liberal Democrats formed a coalition government with the Conservative Party, with Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister and other Liberal Democrats in the cabinet. Three quarters of the Liberal Democrat's manifesto pledges went into the Programme for Government.
After joining the coalition poll ratings for the party fell, particularly following the government's support for raising the cap on tuition fees with Liberal Democrat MPs voting 27 for, 21 against and 8 abstaining.
On 8 December 2010, the eve of a vote on the raising of the cap on tuition fees in the United Kingdom to £9,000, an opinion poll conducted by YouGov recorded voting intention figures of Conservatives 41%, Labour 41%, Other Parties 11% and Liberal Democrats 8%. the lowest level of support recorded for the Liberal Democrats in any opinion poll since September 1990. In the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election, 2011 held on 13 January 2011, the Liberal Democrats gained 31.9% of the vote, a 0.3% increase despite losing to Labour. In a by-election in the South Yorkshire constituency of Barnsley in March 2011, the Liberal Democrats fell from second place at the general election to sixth.
In council elections held on 5 May 2011, the Liberal Democrats suffered heavy defeats in the Midlands, North and Scotland. They also lost heavily in the Welsh assembly and Scottish Parliament, where several candidates lost their deposits. According to The Guardian, "they lost control of Sheffield council – the city of Clegg's constituency – were ousted from Liverpool, Hull and Stockport, and lost every Manchester seat they stood in. Overall, they got their lowest share of the vote in three decades".
As part of the deal that formed the coalition, it was agreed to hold a referendum on the Alternative Vote, in which the Conservatives would campaign for First Past the Post and the Liberal Democrats for Alternative Vote. The referendum, held on 5 May 2011, resulted in First Past the Post being chosen over Alternative Vote by approximately two-thirds of voters.
In May 2011, Nick Clegg revealed plans to make the House of Lords a mainly elected chamber, limiting the number of peers to 300, 80% of whom would be elected with a third of that 80% being elected every 5 years by Single transferable vote. In August 2012, Clegg announced that attempts to reform the House of Lords would be abandoned due to opposition for the proposals by backbench Conservative MPs. Claiming the coalition agreement had been broken, Clegg stated that Liberal Democrat MPs would no longer support changes to the House of Commons boundaries for the 2015 general election.
The Lib Dem Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne in 2011 announced plans for halving UK carbon emissions by 2025 as part of the "Green Deal" which was in the 2010 Liberal Democrat manifesto.
In council elections held on 3 May 2012, the Lib Dems lost more than three hundred councillors, leaving them with fewer than three thousand for the first time in the party's history. In June 2012 it was reported that membership of the party had fallen by around 20% along with falling poll numbers since joining the coalition. On 20 September 2012 Clegg personally apologised for breaking his pledge not to raise university tuition fees.
On 28 February 2013, the party won a by-election in Eastleigh, the Hampshire constituency that had previously been held by the former minister, Chris Huhne. The party's candidate, Mike Thornton, had been a local councillor for the party, and held the seat. In eighteen other by-elections held throughout the 2010–15 Parliament, the party lost its deposit in 11; in the Rochester and Strood by-election held on 20 November 2014, it came fifth polling 349 votes or 0.9% of the total votes cast. This was both the worst result in the history of the party, and of any governing party.
Members of the Cabinet prior to 2015 dissolution
- Nick Clegg – Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Deputy Prime Minister
- Vince Cable – Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
- Ed Davey – Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
- Alistair Carmichael - Secretary of State for Scotland
- Danny Alexander – Chief Secretary to the Treasury
- David Laws – Minister of State in the Cabinet Office and Minister of State for Schools
Other Ministers prior to 2015 dissolution
- Steve Webb – Minister of State for Pensions (Department for Work and Pensions)
- Norman Lamb – Minister of State for Care Services (Department of Health)
- Norman Baker – Minister of State for Crime Prevention (Home Office)
- Dan Rogerson – Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Water, Forestry, Resource Management and Rural Affairs (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
- Susan Kramer – Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Regional and Local Transport (Department for Transport)
- Stephen Williams – Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Community Cohesion (Department for Communities and Local Government)
- Jenny Willott – Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities (Government Equalities Office)
- Lynne Featherstone – Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development (Department for International Development)
- Simon Hughes – Minister of State for Justice and Civil Liberties (Ministry of Justice)
- Baroness Randerson – Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Wales Office)
- Tom Brake – Deputy Leader of the House of Commons
- Jim Wallace, Baron Wallace of Tankerness – Advocate General for Scotland
- Richard Newby, Baron Newby – Deputy Chief Whip, Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard
- Lindsay Northover, Baroness Northover
- William Wallace, Baron Wallace of Saltaire
- Judith Jolly, Baroness Jolly
2015 UK general election
On 8 May 2015, the party turned in its worst performance for a Liberal political party at a general election since the Liberal Party returned six seats in 1970, with eight Lib Dem MPs elected, down from 57 in 2010. Its share of the popular vote fell from 23% in 2010 to 8%. Five former cabinet ministers—David Laws, Ed Davey, Vince Cable, Michael Moore and Danny Alexander—lost their seats; the first three to Conservative Party candidates, and the other two to the Scottish National Party. Former leader Charles Kennedy also lost his seat. Nick Clegg retained his Sheffield Hallam seat by 2353 votes, although he immediately resigned as party leader.
In the 2015 party leadership ballot, held on 16 July 2015, Tim Farron was elected to the leadership of the party with 56.5% of the vote, beating opponent Norman Lamb. On 29 July 2015 Farron unveiled his frontbench team, with Tom Brake MP taking on Foreign Affairs, Alistair Carmichael MP Home Affairs, Baroness Kramer Economics and Baroness Jolly representing Defence.
The two main ideological strands within the Liberal Democrats are social liberals and the classical liberals, the latter supporting economic liberalism. The principal difference between the two is that the classical liberals tend to support greater choice and competition and aim to increase social mobility through economic deregulation and creation of opportunity, whereas the social liberals were more commonly associated with directly aiming to increase equality of outcome through state intervention. Correspondingly, classical liberals tended to favour cutting taxes for the poorest in order to increase opportunity, contrasting with social liberals, who would rather see higher spending on public services and the disadvantaged in order to reduce income inequality.
The strand of social liberalism in the party is influenced by William Beveridge, who is credited with drafting further advancements of the welfare state, and economist John Maynard Keynes. In February 2009, many social liberals founded the Social Liberal Forum, an internal party pressure group, to pursue social liberal policies within the party. Notable social liberals in the Liberal Democrats include David Steel, Paddy Ashdown, Menzies Campbell, Charles Kennedy and Simon Hughes.
In 2004 members of the classical and economic liberal faction contributed to The Orange Book, which contained free-market economic and social policies and seen as an attempt to move the party towards the centre-right. Individuals from that faction include Nick Clegg, David Laws and Jeremy Browne, a group which has been referred to as the Orange Book Liberals.
|This article is outdated. (May 2015)|
||This section contains information of unclear or questionable importance or relevance to the article's subject matter. Please help improve this article by clarifying or removing superfluous information. (September 2015)|
- Pupil premium of £2.5bn given to head teachers, aimed at disadvantaged children, which could allow average primary school to cut class size to 20 pupils. — £488 per child on free school meals, is given to schools on top of their main funding. Total pupil premium funding for 2011–12 is £625m and is due to rise to £2.5bn a year by 2014–15.
- Introduce shared parental leave from work, extended to 18 months over time, and right for fathers to attend ante-natal appointments. Right for grandparents to request flexible working. — From April 2011 fathers will be able to take any unused maternity leave themselves if their partners go back to work early. Plans also announced to consult on further reforms to the current system of parental leave.
- Workplace scheme for 800,000 pupils to give them the opportunity to gain skills and experience. — £1bn of new funding will provide opportunities including job subsidies, apprenticeships and work experience placements for 500,000 unemployed people. The government will subsidise 160,000 work places by providing £2,275 to any private sector business willing to hire an unemployed person aged 18 to 24 years old.
- Cut size of the Department of Health by half, abolishing or cutting budgets of quangos, scrapping Strategic Health Authorities and seeking to limit pay of top NHS managers to below level of prime minister. Three quarters of health quangos have already been axed, and plans have been announced to scrap Strategic Health Authorities.
- Scrap Labour's personal care at home and divert cash to give one week's respite for one million carers. — Over £400million available in additional funding over coalition period to the hundreds of thousands of carers who work over 50 hours a week.
- Bill announced which will regulate CCTV, end the collection of DNA from innocent citizens, scrap ID cards and the children's contact database, end control orders, reduce the maximum pre-charge detention period under that Act from 28 to 14 days, outlaw wheel-clamping on private land, enable those with convictions for consensual sexual relations between men aged 16 or over (which have since been decriminalised) to apply to have them disregarded, and an amnesty with British citizenship for all illegal immigrants.
- A full judicial inquiry into allegations of British complicity in torture and state kidnapping.
- A "strong and positive" commitment to the European Union. A series of televised debates between the then Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage (the leader of the UK Independence Party, Britain's largest Eurosceptic political party) gained widespread attention in the media.
- The Liberal Democrats have also successfully accomplished prohibiting British companies from selling chemicals abroad where it is known that they may be used in carrying out the death penalty.
- Like their predecessors in the SDP–Liberal Alliance, the Liberal Democrats are opposed to the Trident replacement programme, and believe that "a step down the nuclear ladder towards a minimal yet credible deterrent offers the best balance of deterrence coupled with a clear commitment to disarmament."
- The Liberal Democrats have been described by the New Statesman as "unsparing in their criticism of the unfairness of first-past-the-post," and are fully committed to electoral reform, including Alternative Vote and proportional representation. It is one of their most popular policies, and described by the New Statesman as "one policy with which the Liberal Democrats are identified in the minds of the public."
2 / 25
5 / 129
5 / 60
In 1992 General Election, the Lib Dems succeeded the SDP–Liberal Alliance as the third most popular party, behind Labour and the Conservatives. Their popularity declined from the levels attained by the Alliance, but their seat count rose, a feat that has been credited to more intelligent targeting of vulnerable seats. The vote percentage for the Alliance in 1987 and the Lib Dems in 2005 is similar, yet the Lib Dems won 62 seats to the Alliance's 22.
The first-past-the-post electoral system used in UK General Elections is not suited to parties whose vote is evenly divided across the country, resulting in those parties achieving a lower proportion of seats in the Commons than their proportion of the popular vote (see table and graph). The Lib Dems and their Liberal and SDP predecessors have suffered especially, particularly in the 1980s when their electoral support was greatest while the disparity between the votes and the number of MPs returned to parliament was significantly large. The increase in their number of seats in 1997, 2001 and 2005 was attributed to the weakness of the Conservatives and the success of their election strategist Lord Rennard. Lib Dems state that they want 'three-party politics' in the Commons; the most realistic chance of power with first past the post is for the party to be the kingmakers in a hung parliament. Party leaders often set out their terms for forming a coalition in such an event—Nick Clegg stated in 2008 that the policy for the 2010 General Election was to reform elections, parties and Parliament in a "constitutional convention".
|General election||Name||Share of votes||Seats||Share of seats||Source|
23 / 650
22 / 650
20 / 651
46 / 659
52 / 659
62 / 646
57 / 650
8 / 650
The party had control of 31 councils in 2008, having held 29 councils prior to the 2008 election. In the 2008 local elections, they gained 25% of the vote, placing them ahead of Labour and increasing their control by 34 to more than 4,200 council seats—21% of the total number of seats. In council elections held in May 2011, the Liberal Democrats suffered heavy defeats in the Midlands, North and Scotland. They also lost heavily in the Welsh assembly and Scottish Parliament. In local elections held in May 2012, the Lib Dems lost more than 300 councillors, leaving them with fewer than 3000 for the first time in the party's history. In the 2013 local elections, they lost more councillors. In the 2014 local elections they lost over 300 councillors and the control of two local governments.
The party has generally not performed as well in elections to the European Parliament. In the 2004 local elections, their share of the vote was 29% (placing them second, ahead of Labour) and 14.9% in the simultaneous European Parliament elections (putting them in fourth place behind UK Independence Party). The results of the 2009 European elections were similar with the party achieving a vote of 28% in the county council elections yet achieving only 13.7% in the Europeans despite the elections taking place on the same day. The 2009 elections did however see the party gain one seat from UKIP in the East Midlands region taking the number of representatives in the parliament up to 11. In 2014, the party lost ten seats, leaving them with one MEP.
In Europe, the party sits with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) political group, which favours further strengthening the EU. The group's leader for seven and a half years was the South West England MEP Graham Watson, who was also the first Liberal Democrat to be elected to the European Parliament when he won the old Somerset and North Devon constituency in 1994. The group's current leader is the former Prime Minister of Belgium Guy Verhofstadt.
|European election (UK)||Name||Share of votes||Seats||Share of seats||Source|
0 / 81
|1989||Social and Liberal Democrats||6%||
0 / 81
2 / 87
10 / 87
12 / 78
11 / 72
1 / 73
Scottish Parliament elections
The first elections for the Scottish parliament were held in 1999 and resulted in the Liberal Democrats forming a coalition government with Labour from its establishment until 2007. The Liberal Democrat leader Jim Wallace became Deputy First Minister, a role he continued until his retirement as party leader in 2005. The new leader of the party, Nicol Stephen, then took on the role of Deputy First Minister until the election of 2007.
For the first three Scottish Parliament elections, the Lib Dems maintained a consistent number of MSPs. From the 17 elected in 1999, they retained this number in 2003 and went down one to 16 in 2007. However, this fell to only five seats after the 2011 election as a result of the widespread unpopularity of their coalition with the Conservative party at the UK level.
|Election||Constituency votes||Regional votes||Total seats||Share of seats|
17 / 129
17 / 129
16 / 129
5 / 129
Welsh Assembly elections
Elections to the newly created National Assembly for Wales also took place for the first time in 1999 and saw the Liberal Democrats take six seats in the inaugural Assembly, with Welsh Labour winning a plurality of seats in the assembly, but not enough to win an outright majority. In October 2000, following a series of close votes, the parties formed a coalition that saw the Liberal Democrat leader in the assembly, Michael German, become the Deputy First Minister. The deal lasted until the election of 2003, when Labour won enough seats to be able to govern outright.
The party has polled consistently in all four elections to the National Assembly, returning six representatives in the first three elections and five in the 2011 Election, thereby establishing itself as the fourth party in Wales behind Labour, the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru. The leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats is Kirsty Williams, the assembly member for Brecon & Radnorshire, the Assembly's first female leader.
|Election||Constituency votes||Seats||Regional votes||Seats||Total Seats||Share of Seats|
6 / 60
6 / 60
6 / 60
5 / 60
The Liberal Democrats are a federal party of the parties of England, Scotland and Wales. The English and Scottish parties are further split into regions. The parliamentary parties of the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly form semi-autonomous units within the party. The leaders in the House of Commons and the Scottish Parliament are the leaders of the federal party and the Scottish Party; the leaders in the other two chambers, and the officers of all parliamentary parties, are elected from their own number. Co-ordination of all party activities across all federated groups is undertaken through the Federal Executive. Chaired by the party leader, its 30+ members includes representatives from each of the groups and democratically elected representatives.
The Lib Dems had 65,038 members at the end of 2010 and in the first quarter of 2008, the party received £1.1 million in donations and have total borrowings and unused credit facilities of £1.1 million (the "total debt" figure reported by the Electoral Commission includes, for example, unused overdraft facilities). This compares to Labour's £3.1 million in donations and £17.8 million of borrowing/credit facilities, and the Conservatives' £5.7 million in donations and £12.1 million of borrowing/credit facilities.
Specified Associated Organisations (SAOs) review and input policies, representing groups including: ethnic minorities (EMLD), women (WLD), the LGBT community (LGBT+ Liberal Democrats), youth and students (Liberal Youth), engineers and scientists (ALDES), parliamentary candidates (PCA) and local councillors (ALDC). Others can become Associated Organisations (AOs) as pressure groups in the party, such as the Green Liberal Democrats, Liberal Democrats Online, the Liberal Democrat European Group (LDEG) and the Liberal Democrat Disability Association. The National Union of Liberal Clubs (NULC) represents Liberal Social Clubs which encourages recreational institutions where the promotion of the party can take place.
Like the Conservatives, the Lib Dems organise in Northern Ireland, though they do not contest elections in the province: they work with the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, de facto agreeing to support the Alliance in elections. There is a separate local party operating in Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats. Several individuals, including Alliance Party leader David Ford, hold membership of both parties. Alliance members of the House of Lords take the Lib Dem whip on non-Northern Ireland issues, and the Alliance Party used to have a stall at Lib Dem party conferences.
It is also a 'sister party' of the Liberal Party of Gibraltar and contests the South-West England constituency at European Parliamentary elections on a joint ticket with them taking place six on the party list.
The party is a member of Liberal International and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party, and their 1 MEP sits in the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Group in the European Parliament.
|Year||Membership (as of 31 December)|
|Entered office||Left office||Date of Birth||Date of Death|
|David Steel 1||7 July 1987||16 July 1988||31 March 1938|
|Robert Maclennan 2||6 August 1987||16 July 1988||26 June 1936|
|Paddy Ashdown||16 July 1988||9 August 1999||27 February 1941|
|Charles Kennedy||9 August 1999||7 January 2006||25 November 1959||1 June 2015|
|Sir Menzies Campbell 3||2 March 2006||15 October 2007||22 May 1941|
|Vince Cable 4||15 October 2007||18 December 2007||9 May 1943|
|Nick Clegg||18 December 2007||16 July 2015||7 January 1967|
|Tim Farron||16 July 2015||Incumbent||27 May 1970|
- 1 Joint interim leader, as leader of the Liberal Party before the merger.
- 2 Joint interim leader, as leader of the Social Democratic Party before the merger.
- 3 Interim leader between the resignation of Charles Kennedy on 7 January 2006 and his own election on 2 March 2006.
- 4 Interim leader between the resignation of Menzies Campbell on 15 October 2007 and the election of Nick Clegg on 18 December 2007.
- Russell Johnston, 1988–92
- Alan Beith, 1992–2003
- Sir Menzies Campbell, 2003–06
- Vince Cable, 2006–10
- Simon Hughes, 2010–14
- Sir Malcolm Bruce, 2014–2015
Presidents chair the Federal Executive Committee. They are elected for a two-year term, starting on 1 January and ending on 31 December. They may serve a maximum of two terms.
- Sir Ian Wrigglesworth, 1988–90
- Charles Kennedy, 1991–94
- Robert Maclennan, 1995–98
- Diana Maddock, Baroness Maddock, 1999–2000
- Navnit Dholakia, Baron Dholakia, 2001–04
- Simon Hughes, 2005–08
- Rosalind Scott, Baroness Scott of Needham Market, 2009–10
- Tim Farron, 2011–14
- Sal Brinton, Baroness Brinton, from 2015
Leaders in the House of Lords
|Leader||Entered office||Left office|
|1||Roy Jenkins, Baron Jenkins of Hillhead (1920–2003)||16 July 1988||4 May 1997|
|2||William Rodgers, Baron Rodgers of Quarry Bank (b. 1928)||4 May 1997||13 June 2001|
|3||Shirley Williams, Baroness Williams of Crosby (b. 1930)||13 June 2001||22 June 2004|
|4||Tom McNally, Baron McNally (b. 1943)||22 June 2004||October 2013|
|5||Jim Wallace, Baron Wallace of Tankerness (b. 1954)||October 2013||present|
Leaders in the European Parliament
- Graham Watson, 1994–2002 (President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party)
- Diana Wallis, 2002–04
- Chris Davies, 2004–06
- Diana Wallis, 2006–07 (Vice-President of the European Parliament)
- Andrew Duff, 2007–09
- Fiona Hall, 2009–14.
- Catherine Bearder, 2014-
The Liberal Democrats did not have representation in the European Parliament prior to 1994.
Chairs of the English Liberal Democrats
- Paul Farthing (1994-2000)
- Dawn Davidson (2000–04)
- Stan Collins (2004-2007) 
- Brian Orrell (2007-2010) 
- Jonathan Davies (2010-2012) 
- Peter Ellis (2012-2015)
- Steve Jarvis (2015–present)
Leaders of the Scottish Liberal Democrats
- Malcolm Bruce (3 March 1988 – 18 April 1992)
- Jim Wallace (18 April 1992 – 23 June 2005)
- Nicol Stephen (27 June 2005 – 2 July 2008)
- Tavish Scott (26 August 2008 – 7 May 2011)
- Willie Rennie (17 May 2011 – present)
Leaders of the Welsh Liberal Democrats
- Richard Livsey (1988–1992)
- Alex Carlile (1992–1997)
- Richard Livsey (1997–2001)
- Lembit Öpik (2001–2007)
- Mike German (2007–2008)
- Kirsty Williams (2008–present)
Current elected MPs
- Robert Ingham and Duncan Brack, Peace, Reform and Liberation – A History of Liberal Politics in Britain 1679–2011, Biteback Publishing, 2011.
- "Revealed: The Liberal Democrats’ new HQ". Libdemvoice.org. 21 May 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
- "Membership Figures". Liberal Democrats. 17 June 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". Parties-and-elections.eu. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
- Hans Slomp (2011). Europe, A Political Profile: An American Companion to European Politics [2 volumes]: An American Companion to European Politics. ABC-CLIO. p. 343. ISBN 978-0-313-39182-8.
- "Why being centrist hasn't helped the Lib Dems". New Statesman. 6 Oct 2014. Retrieved 5 Aug 2015.
- "Nick Clegg claims Lib Dems now centrist choice, not party of protest". The Guardian. 10 Mar 2013. Retrieved 5 Aug 2015.
- United Kingdom general election, 2015
- "Lords by party and type of peerage". UK Parliament. August 2014. Retrieved August 2014.
- "Vote 2014". BBC News. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
- "Local Council Political Compositions". Keith Edkins. 15 November 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- Mike Finn (PSA Symposium) (April 2014). The Coalition and the Liberal Democrats: The Radical Centre in action?. Political Studies Association (forthcoming).
- Mark Satin (2004). Radical Middle: The Politics We Need Now. Westview Press and Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-8133-4190-3.
- "Election 2010 : National Results after 650 of 650". News.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
- "David Cameron is UK's new prime minister". bbc.co.uk. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010.
- "Election results: Nick Clegg resigns after Lib Dem losses". BBC News. 8 May 2015. Archived from the original on 15 May 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- "Tim Farron elected as Leader of the Liberal Democrats". Libdems.org.uk. 2015-07-16. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
- "A concise history of the Liberal Parties, SDP and Liberal Democrats". Liberal Democrat History Group. 2007. Archived from the original on 29 August 2014.
- "The Alliance: a chronology". Markpack.org.uk. 2009-04-13. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
- "The European Elections in 1989 | UK Office of the European Parliament". Europarl.org.uk. Archived from the original on 20 November 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- "Statistics 1990s". Electoral Reform Society. 2008. Archived from the original on 5 October 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- Hall, Sarah (17 July 2004). "No rest yet for wily architect of poll triumph". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 18 February 2008.
- "The European Elections in 1994 | UK Office of the European Parliament". Europarl.org.uk. Archived from the original on 20 November 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- "Blair considered coalition after 1997". BBC. 16 November 1999. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
- "Election battles 1997: Blair's landslide". BBC News. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- "Paddy Ashdown's letter of resignation". BBC. 22 June 1999. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- "Results & Constituencies". BBC. 2001. Retrieved 29 March 2008.
- Tania Branigan; Michael White (22 September 2005). "Blair in denial over Iraq, says Kennedy". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 16 April 2010.
- Assinder, Nick (26 September 2002). "Kennedy sounds election battle cry". BBC. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
- "Kennedy wins top politician title". BBC. 11 November 2004. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- "Tories admit by-election 'blow'". BBC. 1 October 2004. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- Glover, Julian (10 December 2001). "Pro-European Tories join Lib Dems". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "Blair wins historic third term – majority of 66". BBC. 8 September 2005. Retrieved 21 March 2008.
- Kettle, Martin (26 April 2005). "Kennedy can still exploit this perfect political storm". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 21 March 2008.
- Kennedy, Dominic; Goddard, Jacqui (29 November 2008). "Lib Dems face repaying 24m after Michael Brown partys biggest donor convicted". The Times (London).
- "Top Lib Dem donor stole millions". BBC News. 28 November 2008. Retrieved 28 November 2008.
- "Seats to Watch". UK Polling Report. 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
- "Kennedy calls for Lib Dem contest". BBC. 8 January 2006. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
- "Westminster's worst kept secret?". BBC. 2006. Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
- "Timeline: Lib Dem election". BBC. 2 March 2006. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
- "Lib Dems deliver blow to Labour". BBC. 10 February 2006. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
- "Bromley and Chislehurst". The Guardian (London). 2006. Retrieved 23 March 2008.[dead link]
- "Lib Dems plan 4p cut in tax rate". BBC. 12 July 2007. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- "Voting Intention since 2005". UK Polling Report. 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- "Campbell quits as Lib Dem leader". BBC. 15 October 2007. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- Ansari, Arif (30 November 2007). "Vince Cable: Acting like a leader". BBC. Retrieved 17 February 2008.
- "Nick Clegg is new Lib Dem leader". BBC. 18 December 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2008.
- "The Nick Clegg story". BBC. 19 December 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2008.
- "Nick Clegg's speech in full". BBC. 18 December 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2007.
- "Clegg bid for compulsory English". BBC. 28 April 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2008.
- "Clegg reveals his frontbench team". BBC. 20 December 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2008.
- Dodd, Vikram (12 May 2010). "Nick Clegg to put deputy prime minister title to test". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- "Clegg, Cameron kick off coalition era". Agence France-Press. 12 May 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- "Nick Clegg is right to aim for the centre ground". thinking liberal. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
- "Clegg has made coalition work. Now he must show he believes in more than hung parliaments". New Statesman. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
- "April 25th: Nick Clegg tilts towards the Tories". The Economist. 25 April 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- Green, Miranda (28 May 2015). "The immutable laws of political physics: The Lib Dem’s unavoidable defeat and wide-open future". Institute for Public Policy Research. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- Wigmore, Tim (10 May 2015). "The Lib Dems’ painful lesson: splitting the difference doesn't work". Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- Cohen, Tamara (8 May 2015). "The Liberal Democrats' darkest hour: Nick Clegg says he is to blame for his party's worst defeat in history as he resigns from leadership". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- "The Latest: Obama congratulates David Cameron on election victory". U.S. News and World Report. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- "ITV News Instant Poll Results 15 April 2010" (PDF). Comres. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- Anthony Wells. "Latest voting intention 20 April 2010". YouGov. Retrieved 20 April 2010.[dead link]
- "Inside Story : How Coalition Government Works" (PDF). Ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
- "Coalition under pressure as Liberal Democrat support plummets". Thisislondon.co.uk. 10 August 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
- "Tuition fees vote: Plans approved despite rebellion". bbc.co.uk. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
- YouGov. "Gov't trackers – update 8th Dec". Today.yougov.co.uk. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
- "YouGov – Lib Dems hit 8%". UK Polling Report. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
- Groves, Jason (4 March 2011). "'We got a kicking': Lib Dems in crisis after coming SIXTH in Barnsley by-election crushing". Daily Mail (London).
- "Scottish election: SNP wins election". BBC News. 6 May 2011.
- Polly Curtis, Patrick Wintour and Hélène Mulholland. "Liberal Democrats have taken 'big knocks', says Nick Clegg | Politics". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
- "First UK-wide referendum in over 35 years delivers a "No" to changing the UK Parliament voting system". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
- "Clegg unveils plans for elected House of Lords". BBC News. 17 May 2011.
- "Nick Clegg: Lords reform plans to be abandoned". BBC. 6 August 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012.
- Harvey, Fiona; Stratton, Allegra (17 May 2011). "Carbon emissions (Environment), Green politics, Chris Huhne, UK news, Environment, Climate change (Environment), Politics". The Guardian (London).
- "Vote 2012: Labour are back throughout country, says Ed Miliband". BBC News. 4 May 2012.
- Chorley, Matt (3 June 2012). "Lib Dems suffer plunge in party membership – UK Politics – UK – The Independent". The Independent (London). Retrieved 13 April 2014.
- Parker, George (19 September 2012). "Clegg apologises over tuition fees rise". FT.com. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
- "Eastleigh by-election: Lib Dems hold on despite UKIP surge". BBC News. 1 March 2013.
- Ayres, Steven; Hawkins, Oliver (21 November 2014). "By-elections since 2010 General Election - Commons Library Standard Note". www.parliament.uk. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- "Lib Dems defiant despite Rochester and Strood setback". BBC News. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
- "Nick Clegg facing fight for leadership as Lib Dems set to lose MEPs in elections". The Mirror. 25 May 2014.
- "Lib Dems languish in fifth place in European elections". BBC News. 26 May 2014.
- "Liberal Democrats suffer electoral collapse". Financial Times. 8 May 2015.
- Hennessy, Patrick; Kite, Melissa (29 May 2010). "David Laws resigns over expenses claim". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 29 May 2010.
- "Election results: Nick Clegg resigns after Lib Dem losses". BBC News. 8 May 2015.
- "Tim Farron unveils his Lib Dem front bench team - BBC News". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
- "Liberal Democrat Federal Constitution". Libdems.org.uk. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- Alistair Clark (2012). Political Parties in the UK. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 86–93. ISBN 978-0-230-36868-2.
- Andrew Heywood (2011). Essentials of UK Politics. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 126–128. ISBN 978-0-230-34619-2.
- James Connelly; Jack Hayward (2012). The Withering of the Welfare State: Regression. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 96–97. ISBN 978-0-230-34922-3.
- Nicholas Allen; John Bartle (2010). Britain at the Polls 2010. SAGE Publications. pp. 68–70. ISBN 978-1-4462-1039-0.
- "Political Reform". Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
- Cable, Vince (10 June 2010). "We agree to differ on restoring economy". Financial Times. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- "Going green isn't a luxury extra, it's a necessary investment in our future". Liberal Democrats.
- Stratton, Allegra (25 August 2011). "Nick Clegg: I will refuse to let human rights laws be weakened". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2 September 2011.
- Wachman, Richard (1 September 2011). "City hits back at Vince Cable over banking reform comments". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2 September 2011.
- "The Liberal Democrats on Civil Liberties". Libdems.org.uk. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
- Press Association (11 December 2011). "Government to extend number of children to get £488 pupil premium". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- "Nick Clegg: More freedom for couples to organise parental leave". Libdems.org.uk. 17 January 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2011.[dead link]
- Wintour, Patrick; Mulholland, Hélène (25 November 2011). "Nick Clegg: £1bn youth jobs fund to prevent lost generation". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- "Three-quarters of health quangos axed". London: The Independent. 14 October 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- Evans, Lisa (19 May 2011). "What will be left when Strategic Healthcare Authorities are axed? Get the data". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- "Government announces £400 million for carers’ respite breaks". The Princess Royal Trust for Carers. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- "Protection of Freedoms Bill 2010–11". Services.parliament.uk. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- Cobain, Ian (6 July 2010). "David Cameron announces torture inquiry". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- "At-a-glance: Lib Dem general election 2010 manifesto". BBC News. 14 April 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- "General election 2010: Liberal Democrat manifesto at a glance". The Guardian (London). 14 April 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- "Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage in heated BBC debate over EU". BBC News. 3 April 2014. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- Morse, Fecility (3 April 2014). "Nigel Farage v Nick Clegg Europe debate: Their shocking statements, terrible jokes and the facts they got wrong". The Independent. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- Wintour, Patrick; Watt, Nicholas; Mason, Rowena (3 April 2014). "Farage v Clegg: Ukip leader triumphs in second televised debate". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- Swinford, Steven (2 April 2014). "Nigel Farage scores victory over Nick Clegg as second TV debate turns nasty". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- Silvera, Ian (2 March 2015). "Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg were both wrong on EU's influence over UK law". International Business Times. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- Vale, Paul; Simons, Ned (2 April 2014). "Nigel Farage Wins Second European Union Debate Against Nick Clegg". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- Clegg, Nick (19 February 2012). "Nick Clegg: We can lead from the front in disarming". The Independent (London).
- John Cleese SDP/Liberal Alliance political broadcast 1987, retrieved 14 May 2015
- "Trident". The Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
- Bogdanor, Verdon (21 September 2010). "Why the Lib Dems want electoral reform". New Statesman. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
- "Voting Systems". Electoral Reform Society. 2008. Archived from the original on 20 January 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- "Expect more protests, says Clegg". BBC. 8 March 2008. Retrieved 13 March 2008.
- "Lib Dems hail three-party contest". BBC. 11 June 2004. Retrieved 21 March 2008.
- Freedland, Jonathan (19 December 2007). "If Clegg gets it right in 2008, he could bring the Lib Dems into government". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 23 March 2008.
- Sparrow, Andrew (10 March 2008). "Clegg's terms for deal in hung parliament". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 15 March 2008.
- "Statistics 1980s". Electoral Reform Society. 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2008.[dead link]
- "20 things you may have missed from the election". BBC News. 8 May 2015. Archived from the original on 10 May 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- "Lib Dems launch councils campaign". BBC. 3 April 2008. Retrieved 3 April 2008.
- "Vote 2014 Election Results for Councils in England - BBC News". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
- "Vote 2004". BBC. 15 August 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2008.
- "European Election 2009: East Midlands". BBC. 19 April 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
- "UK European election results". BBC News. 26 May 2014.
- "Groups in the European Parliament". BBC. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
- "Biographical details: Graham Watson MEP, Former leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament". ALDE. 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2009.[dead link]
- "ALDE | Guy Verhofstadt elected unopposed as new ALDE group leader". Alde.eu. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2010.[dead link]
- "The European Elections in 1984". European Parliament. 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2008.[dead link]
- "The European Elections in 1989". European Parliament. 2008. Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 4 May 2008.
- "The European Elections in 1994". European Parliament. 2008. Archived from the original on 15 December 2007. Retrieved 4 May 2008.
- "The European Elections in 1999". European Parliament. 2008. Retrieved 4 May 2008.[dead link]
- "Elections 2009". BBC. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2010.
- "Election 2007 – Devolution Come of Age?". Institute of Governance. 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2008.[dead link]
- "Lib Dems choose Stephen as leader". BBC. 23 June 2005. Retrieved 28 March 2008.
- "Holyrood Results". The Herald. 2007. Archived from the original on 23 April 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2008.
- "Willie Rennie named new Scottish Lib Dem leader". BBC News. 17 May 2011.
- Gibbs, Geoffrey (21 March 2001). "Lib Dems agree Welsh Assembly power deal". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 9 June 2009. Check date values in:
|year= / |date= mismatch(help)
- "Morgan pledges to govern alone". BBC. 7 May 2003. Retrieved 21 March 2008.
- "Williams election breaks mould". BBC. 8 December 2008. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
- "Federal Executive". Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
- Eaton, George (25 July 2013). "Lib Dem money woes grow as party membership hits new low". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 15 May 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- "New figures published showing political parties' donations and borrowing". Electoral Commission (United Kingdom). 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
- "Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats". Ethnic-minority.libdems.org. 8 March 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- "Women Liberal Democrats". Wld.org.uk. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- "DELGA: Liberal Democrats for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Action". Lgbt.libdems.org.uk. 17 February 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- "ALDES". ALDES. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- "PCA Encyclopedia : Welcome to the Parliamentary Candidates Association Website". Parliamentary.org.uk. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- "Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors". ALDC. 17 February 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- "Green Liberal Democrats". Greenlibdems.org.uk. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- "Liberal Democrats Online". Online.libdems.org. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- "Liberal Democrat European Group". www.ldeg.org. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- "LDDA — The Liberal Democrat Disability Association". Disabilitylibdems.org.uk. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- "Alliance Party faces uphill battle". BBC. 14 September 2001. Retrieved 21 March 2008.
- "Scribd". Scribd. Retrieved 27 November 2010.[dead link]
- "Sister Parties". Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
- "European selection results – complete". Houston Chronicle. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
- "The Liberal Democrats (The Federal Party) – Reports and Financial Statements – Year Ended 31 December 2002" (PDF). The Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 14 November 2010.[dead link]
- "The Liberal Democrats (The Federal Party) – Reports and Financial Statements – Year Ended 31 December 2003" (PDF). The Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 14 November 2010.[dead link]
- "The Liberal Democrats (The Federal Party) – Reports and Financial Statements – Year Ended 31 December 2004" (PDF). The Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 14 November 2010.[dead link]
- "The Liberal Democrats (The Federal Party) – Reports and Financial Statements – Year Ended 31 December 2005" (PDF). The Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 14 November 2010.[dead link]
- "The Liberal Democrats (The Federal Party) – Reports and Financial Statements – Year Ended 31 December 2006" (PDF). The Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 14 November 2010.[dead link]
- "The Liberal Democrats (The Federal Party) – Reports and Financial Statements – Year Ended 31 December 2007" (PDF). The Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 14 November 2010.[dead link]
- "The Liberal Democrats (The Federal Party) – Reports and Financial Statements – Year Ended 31 December 2008" (PDF). The Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 14 November 2010.[dead link]
- "The Liberal Democrats (The Federal Party) – Reports and Financial Statements – Year Ended 31 December 2009" (PDF). The Liberal Democrats. Retrieved 14 November 2010.[dead link]
- "The Liberal Democrats (The Federal Party) – Reports and Financial Statements – Year Ended 31 December 2011". The Liberal Democrats. p. 27. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
- Titley, Simon (19 January 2013). "Liberator’s blog: Has the fall in party membership finally ended?". Liberator. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
- Rathe, Austin (8 January 2014). "Liberal Democrats end year with historic membership growth – but we must keep up the good work". Liberal Democrat Voice.
- "Lib Dem Members". Libdems.org.uk. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
- "Sir Malcolm Bruce wins Lib Dem deputy leadership contest". BBC News. 28 January 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- "CIX site migration". Retrieved 8 May 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Liberal Democrats (UK).|
Federal Liberal Democrats
- English Liberal Democrats
- Scottish Liberal Democrats
- Welsh Liberal Democrats
- Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (formal sister party, although not officially part of the Lib Dems)
- Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors
- Liberal Democrats in Business
- Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidates Association
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender + Liberal Democrats
- Liberal Youth
- Liberal International British Group
- Social Liberal Forum
- The Beveridge Group
- Liberal Democrats Online
- Liberal Democrat Christian Forum
- Association of Liberal Democrat Engineers and Scientists
- Liberal Democrat History Group
- An archive of Liberal/SDP/Liberal Democrat electoral manifestos from 1900–present
- Liberal Democrats collected news and commentary at The Guardian
- Lib Dem Blogs, an aggregator of Liberal Democrat blogs
- Orpington Liberal Club
- "Electoral reform – A vote of principle", The Guardian, 3 July 2010.
- Lib Dem Voice – the most-read independent website by and for Lib Dems.